The Toronto Blue Jays enter the 2021/2022 offseason with some needs to address but also some housekeeping business to take care of.
For starters, they need to decide whether they are going to spend the capital and convince pending free agents Marcus Semien and Robbie Ray to return to the Blue Jays roster while also keeping in mind other players destined for free agency like Steven Matz and Corey Dickerson (among others) and whether or not to retain those players or replace them, either through outside sources or internally.
One need that will most likely arise is within the bullpen, as the Blue Jays front office will most likely look for some help on the open market to give a cushion to the current relief corps that already boasts the likes of Trevor Richards, Tim Mayza, Adam Cimber, and Jordan Romano. There are a few other pitchers who are on the bubble like Ryan Borucki, Trent Thornton, and Anthony Castro who could crack the bullpen to start the year while there are also a few prospects who could also fill in like Tayler Saucedo, Bryan Baker, and Kirby Snead, all of whom got a taste of the big leagues this season.
That being said, this year’s free-agent class is pretty stacked when it comes to infield talent, with the likes of Semien, Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, and a boatload of talented players all looking to cash in. The relief market is also pretty potent as well, with a few players that could be potential difference-makers in the bullpen if the front office can convince them to take their talents North of the border.
Here are four right-handed free-agent relief pitchers the Blue Jays should consider signing this offseason.
One of the top AL relievers this past season, right-hander Raisel Iglesias is going to be a very hot commodity when free agency opens up this Winter. The Cuban product was a force for the Los Angeles Angels this year, pitching to a 2.57 ERA through 65 appearances, earning 34 saves through 39 opportunities while striking out 103 batters compared to 12 walks in 70.0 innings pitched.
While he began his career as a starter for the Cincinnati Reds back in 2015, a move to the bullpen the following year showed his true potential, as the 6’2″ righty has thrown a sub 3.00 ERA in five out of the six seasons since turning into a bullpen arm and boasts a career 10.87 strikeouts through nine innings and owns an ERA of 3.06 through 339 games.
Iglesias will be one of the top arms on the free-agent market this offseason and will command a hefty price tag, with Spotrac assigning him a market value of $15.5 million per season. If the Blue Jays are looking for an effective shutdown reliever, then Iglesias is an option for the club but the price tag is something to consider, especially if they are trying to retain Semien and/or Ray while also looking ahead to the future extension of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette.
It should be noted that if the Blue Jays are successful in signing the closer, Jordan Romano will most likely get bumped into a set-up man role, which could draw the ire of some fans as I highly doubt Iglesias would not come in as the team’s closer.
This is probably the biggest fish in the relief pitcher pond this year and if the Blue Jays aren’t looking to spend that much money on a closer, there are other options out there.